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WeView: Journey

A journey to the top or to a flop?

There was an awful lot of love for Journey here at TSA Towers when it was released, and with good reason. thatgamecompany were trying something that felt fairly new and unique, and pulled it off remarkably well; it’s basically what they do as a studio. Even by their own ridiculously high standards Journey was a bit special though. I mean a game where you’re navigating a creature that looks surprisingly like a Jawa from Star Wars across a mystical desert with flying cloth? That was either going to be amazing or very, very weird.

Fortunately we thought it was the former, a game that had managed to build a fantastic experience out of quite possibly the weirdest concept since, well, Flower. Even without their experimentation with multiplayer thatgamecompany were onto something special, but the emotional connections that people have managed to build with each other even when almost no in-game communication exists is really something astonishing and quite touching.

In our review of the game Alex managed to find not a single thing he could list as a ‘con’ when playing, and could only praise the title. He gave the game a 10/10, something the text of his review more than justified. In fact here’s a short extract from that very text for you to mull over:

Allegory and metaphors in games of this ilk are mostly, intentionally or not, subjective, but Journey for me is simple and defined without any ambiguity: we all have a simple beginning and a simpler end and are – as the nondescript, universal cloak the character wears throughout demonstrate – all created equal. It’s who we meet and what we do along the way with those people that matters above anything else.

And standing alone, in silence, can be heartbreaking.

Despite the praise that Alex heaped on the game, I’m more than willing to accept that there may be some of you out there who just couldn’t click with the sand based exploration. Perhaps there was just something about the game’s overall style that you couldn’t get on with, or you found the lack of meaningful communication frustrating rather than enchanting. Maybe you felt that you just couldn’t connect with the other players that seem so key to the experience.

Whether you loved, hated or couldn’t care less about Journey, we’d like to hear what you thought after playing it. No matter where you fall on the scale, you can share your opinion by dropping a comment below before Sunday afternoon. Once you’ve formed your comment, you’ll need to attach a rating to the game. With WeView we use the Buy It, Bargain Bin It, Rent It or Avoid It system, rather than a numeric scale. Simply pick whichever of those categories best reflects your views on the game and add it to your comment; voilà, you’re done.

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  1. uncleniccius
    Since: Jan 2012

    Buy it. It’s one of those games that you have to experience for yourself, merely watching wouldn’t do the game justice, and the emotional attachment you feel to your character, and your partner if you have one, has not been matched in any game. I think the emotion was the thing that sets it aside from any other game ever released. It is simply a master piece. This is the type of game that deserves to be the best selling ever.

    Comment posted on 22/05/2012 at 21:12.
  2. Foxhound_Solid
    Is a smart cookie.
    Since: Dec 2009

    A truly inspired, breathtaking experience which cannot accurately be put into words. Dim the lights, turn on the surround sound and prepare for the enchanting tale that is Journey. A must buy for all gamers.

    Comment posted on 22/05/2012 at 22:37.
  3. stueeeee
    Since: Jun 2009

    I really enjoyed flower, however I never went and replayed it. With Journey I played it and re played it but never felt compelled to do over and over like some have. I agree the combination of the music and the ‘journey’ is excellent, and although it is only a few hours long and I can’t get many trophies it is a brilliantly unique experience.
    People who like to shoot things may not like it though, and if u play game ‘just to pass the time’ u may not like it either as there’s no goal and your not told what to do, so u can feel aimless.
    Which is ironic as the aim is to get to the end.
    I think it depends on how u think, and the brilliance is -not just about games- about life. The whole game can be looked at in so many different ways. A massive gameplay area to do nothing in, or a metaphor for life. Hmmm…Buy It…just to see if you can open your mind for a couple hours.

    Comment posted on 22/05/2012 at 23:56.
  4. KeRaSh
    Since: Nov 2009

    Journey is exactly what it says on the virtual package. It’s a Journey and it’s a damn good one for sure. The visuals are stunning, the gameplay is simple yet fitting and the game is so athmospheric, it easily beats most AAA games.
    The music is excellent and amazingly underlines the visuals.
    Probably the only game that I’ve ever played through four times within a week and it was great every time.
    Buy it… NOW!

    Comment posted on 23/05/2012 at 08:15.
  5. ron_mcphatty
    Since: Sep 2008

    My experience during the first playthrough didn’t live up to the hype, but that was probably my own fault. I had a fear of playing with someone that rushed through the puzzles and left me nothing to discover myself so I signed out of the PSN and proceeded alone. I finished my first adventure in one sitting and it was in some respects it was an excellent experience. The landscapes are beautiful and the atmosphere truely immersive but the ending left me feeling a bit down. I felt like I faced the depressingly lonely and maddening prospect of doing it all again, over and over, forever. I don’t think that’s how it was intended to be.

    So I came back a few days later to play it online and I ended up spending the whole adventure with one person who hadn’t played before (judging from their cloak markings). This time it was brilliant, all the boasting about simple communication and teamwork from TGC was totally justified. Most importantly for me the feeling at the end of having helped someone else, and sometimes watching them do puzzles on their own, completely changed my opinion of the experience, now I really love it.

    If you’re lucky enough to play with the right person from start to finish, and you can get yourself in the right frame of mind for the experience, then Journey can blow your socks off and leave you feeling satistfied and in awe of a simple little adventure. I think the current price encourages people to play it properly and not waste their cash, so I’d say BUY IT before it gets cheap.

    Comment posted on 23/05/2012 at 10:50.
  6. Dom El
    Since: Mar 2012

    Having heard the excellent word of mouth on Journey I deliberately avoided any media which might have influenced my play through. Thankfully a lot of the previews/reviews carried warnings which I hope helped other people to approach it with a similarly blank slate.

    It is quite simply the most emotionally affecting piece of computer game software I have ever played. Everybody should buy it and experience it for themselves, though as time goes by it’ll become increasingly difficult for people to approach it without any preconceptions.

    Comment posted on 23/05/2012 at 20:15.
  7. Adiemus
    Since: Jul 2009

    I will be one of the few it seems.

    I found Journey to be just an ‘ok’ game, it may be in part to the hype surrounding it up to and post launch. My anticipation was high. People were talking like this was the game of this generation, so with such praise I told myself that it would at least be a great game. I’ll try to break down my thoughts….

    The story was bland to me, it felt for….. a lack of a better description: A journey I had taken before.
    I’m at heart a true RPG player, with story being the main reason I love the genre and gaming in general. But Journey’s story was just a bore, I felt what was going to happen towards the end pretty much from the first level when u see all the stones. This may be because of an attention to detail I’ve somehow aquired over my years of watching/playing stories, but it failed to move me.

    The graphics/Art style are what actually impressed me most about Journey, You feel this world is endless but you have the desire to reach the light in the distance, the only constant beyond yourself in every level. Every time you saw something different you felt a urge to go and check exactly what it is as it was something new. So very very impressed with this.

    The sound is another area where it shines, really gets a sense of movement across to perfectly compliment the actions on screen. Also the lack of communication with people you meet can lead to interesting situations throughout. (And lets not forget the first time you do the underwater type level and you get the fright of your life, a truely HOLY ****!!!!! moment.)

    Gameplay is decent, its nothing to shout about in my opinion. It’s lacking anything for me to get behind beyond the parts towards the end where your avoiding the erm… Stingay light stone things and the sliding sections. The rest is made up of long exploration segments and very simple puzzles which dont break up the exploration enough to keep me interested. If the puzzles had been abit more difficult I would of felt the urge to explore more.

    The multiplayer is something I both like and don’t like about this game, I loved the fact you could run into random people with no sense of connecting to a server and the lack of ability to truely speak to peopel was refreshing. Yet, I found myself wanting to just leave them and explore things I’ve spotted (While tryingt o alert them to it with singing). But while I went off to check what the shiny thing was, the other person had ran off to finish the puzzle to reach the end. Which forced me to see scenes I wasn’t ready to see or missing segments of the gameplay that I may have enjoyed.

    Part of the problem I had with the game was the actual lack of being able to play with a friend, I think this would have made me actually experience the game as it was truely intended. I would of felt a sense of partnership and trust in the other person, it would of given the game much more emotional impact for me. Now I know that isn’t for everyone, but I have several friends that would of enjoyed the expierence more aswell had we made the Journey together.

    For me It’s a very middle ground game, it’s ok. But I wouldnt put it up there as one of the best games/experiences I’ve ever had. I almost felt like I should have liked it more than I did, maybe I overlooked something (The exact phrasing would be ‘is that it….?’). But when I read peoples views on the game and why they found it so great, I felt to myself…. no. I did understand the game! I did ‘get it’! I just didnt think much of it.

    So my verdict is Rent it. (I mean it is digital, so wait for the incoming demo in my opinion to get a taste for the game)

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 04:16.
    • Adiemus
      Since: Jul 2009

      Woah did I really write that much.

      Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 04:16.
  8. Pritchie101
    Since: Aug 2011

    I feel left out, i need to play this game =(

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 14:42.
  9. Nate
    Since: Apr 2010

    While I didn’t have any tearful, life-altering reactions to Journey, I did enjoy it. It is a pretty game that draws you in with varied, sometimes frenetic, gameplay punctuated at all times with a lovely orchestral backing that ebbs and swells at all the appropriate times.

    As memorable as the journey can be though, it is very short and lacks a strong sense of purpose, aside from the unspoken motivation to push ever forward. Whether that bothers you is down to individual opinion.

    Personally, I would recommend people buy it, but it definitely won’t be for everyone.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 19:43.
    • Nate
      Since: Apr 2010

      I should add as well that I didn’t really “get” Flower or Flow. I found Flower somewhat novel, occasionally entertaining but ultimately a bit dull. Flow felt like it would have been better suited as an iOS game. Journey definitely feels more like a game, rather than an eccentricity.

      If you loved thatgamecompany’s previous titles then I’m sure you will love Journey. If you didn’t get them though, it shouldn’t necessarily put you off.

      Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 19:51.
  10. Roynaldo
    Since: Nov 2008

    I wont buy Journey just yet, or maybe ever, simply because there was such a fuss over thatgamecompanys work (Flower, Flow) and i felt, while very pretty and out of the ordinary there just didnt seem to be much game to the games.
    So much other devs can learn from these guys and I credit them highly for their attempts but its just not up my street. Obviously no vote as i havnt played it but I can only imagine my vote would be a bargain bin.

    Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 23:36.
    • colmshan1990
      Since: Apr 2009

      As someone who felt the exact same about Flow and Flower, Nofi had to push me into trying Journey.

      I’m damn glad he did, it was brilliant.

      Comment posted on 24/05/2012 at 23:50.

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